Thirty Minutes of Rome Randomness

21 Jun

I had no idea when I set out yesterday evening that my ride from my house to the Prati neighborhood (meeting a couple friends for dinner) would end up being a 30-minute or so adventure custom-made for my “Ask Yourself Why” category. I love finding weird and random things here in the Eternal City. Maybe you won’t find them amusing like I did, but I hereby submit them for your perusal:

Surely you’ll remember the infamous leg lamp from A Christmas Story? Remember how the dad saw “FRAGILE” written on the box and said “Frah-gee-lee… must be from Italy!” Well, perhaps I’ve found the leg lamp’s real Italian cousin:

Gun lamp

That’s right, folks. Behold, what I can only believe must be called, the gun lamp:

Gun lamp 2

You, too, can be the proud owner of one of these smokin’ lampshade-atop-a-rifle in all its gold-plated glory. And the Italians thought the Americans were the only ones who kept guns in the home?

But trust me, we’re just getting warmed up here. I get on my bus and spot this:

Armpit ad

It’s an ad for a new Nivea women’s underarm deodorant, and it’s a play on the “Mirror, mirror on the wall” rhyme. Allow me to roughly translate?

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who has the fairest armpits of all (on this bus)?”

Ok, I can’t really translate it in rhyming fashion, but the fact that they’re asking at all disturbs me just a wee bit. I mean, people, trust me: anyone who has ever had the “pleasure” of riding non-air-conditioned Rome public transport in the height of summer heat and humidity is NOT asking “who has the fairest armpits of all.” ANZI, most people are likely doing their best to block out the odor emanating from far too many of them. There were lots of these mini-ads plastered to the windows as well:

Armpit ad 2

The copy under her armpit reads “Too beautiful to hide them.” I’m sorry. Is this supposed to be a joke?

I get off the bus, and walking towards the restaurant, I spot a window with children’s bikinis. I won’t get into the appropriateness of bikinis for six year olds. What I take issue with is the writing on the chest of one of them. Normal store window?

Bikini window

Please, step forward and take a closer look:

Bikini 2

Yes, yes, I do realize that “Titti” is the Italian equivalent of Tweety Bird, Sylvester’s counterpart. But still… the placement is a bit unfortunate, wouldn’t you agree?

Winding down our tour, as I wait outside the restaurant for my friend, I notice this on the wall:

Berlusca graffiti

I just love how equal-opportunity it is. “Boia” is a common theme in political graffiti. It literally means “executioner” but gets used as an all-purpose word for “jerk.” Anyhow, here the person is giving the title to Berlusconi, the former prime minister, then almost as an afterthought somone else added “Prodi too” (the current prime minister). Let’s just cover them all while we’re at it, no?

Looking for the Vatican? Here’s a sign:

Vatican sign

The blue bumper sticker says “Thanks Manchester” for their defeat of one of Rome’s two soccer teams, AS Roma, in an embarassing 7-1 loss. Note that the sticker itself is light blue and white, the colors of Rome’s other team, Lazio. The subtitle reads: Rome fans are the shame of the capital. But just to the left, there’s a sticker insulting Lazio. If you want to understand Rome, first understand its soccer rivalry. Then visit the Vatican.

And, just to round things off, what the heck is this?


I mean, it looks like a bike. But then again, it also looks like a triangle. Can anyone help me out here?

Well, that’s all I’ve got for you today. Thirty minutes of wandering this city and asking myself, why, oh, why? I know, it’s not exactly the Colosseum. But this is the Rome I love, in all its randomness.


13 Responses to “Thirty Minutes of Rome Randomness”

  1. erin June 21, 2007 at 1:42 pm #

    great post! I can’t even pick a favorite. …but I am quite curious about the man with the HUGE ears in the photos with the armpit!

  2. Giulia June 21, 2007 at 2:10 pm #

    Gun lamps? Weird. I like the leg one from A Christmas Story better. “Frah-gee-lee”, just thinking about that line cracks me up! πŸ™‚

    Oh my…in reference to the “titti” bathing suit. Did you notice that the other one says Minnie on it? Ummm, mini… tittis…yeah, I’m thinking too much into it! Wrong…so…so wrong! :p

    Ahhh, I can almost smell the ascelle on those buses from here!

    That last photo definitely looks like a bike. A very strange one. Maybe it’s meant for a rider with reeeeally long legs? lol

    Thanks for the tour!

  3. sognatrice June 21, 2007 at 2:50 pm #

    Wow, Rome *is* weird πŸ˜‰ I’m not going to knock the deodorant because I’ll just appreciate if people start thinking it’s the norm here. I like the bikini (adult sizes?) and also the inclusive political graffiti–wouldn’t want Prodi to feel left out. I have no comments on the triangular bicycle.

  4. Shelley, At Home in Rome June 21, 2007 at 4:08 pm #

    Erin: That guy with the huge ears is for a radio station ad. I can’t remember which station though.

    Giulia: I definitely could see the leg lamp in my house way before that gun lamp would ever make it in. It looks like it belongs on the set of a Quentin Tarantino movie, like Jackie Brown.

    Sognatrice: If people start thinking what is the norm? (Sorry, I’m a bit slow.) You mean if people start thinking it’s the norm that people wear deodorant? Ha! Fat chance on that one. Kidding, kidding. Yeah, the triangle bike… too bad I didn’t see it in action. It was all I could do to take a picture of it without the owner noticing me. I have to be sneaky!

  5. jessica in rome June 21, 2007 at 4:57 pm #

    great post! how funny!

  6. Rose in Cali June 21, 2007 at 6:03 pm #

    I hope I see these types of oddities when I visit! But I am curious about the deodorant thing. Are people adverse to wearing it?

  7. Jul June 21, 2007 at 6:41 pm #

    Some of the mannequins in the windows of children’s clothing boutiques in Milan had full-on bewbies. It was disturbing (not unlike that bikini…).

  8. Shelley, At Home in Rome June 21, 2007 at 8:10 pm #

    Rose: No, no, I was just joking, people aren’t averse to wearing deodorant. I just find it funny that they are making such a big deal of it on public transport, which is a classic place where a bunch of sweaty people are crowded together in a non-air conditioned space in the summer. Maybe they’re trying to prove a point that it’s strong…?

    Jul: Ok, bewbies on children’s mannequins, yes, THAT is disturbing. I mean, come on now, can’t we just let little kids be little kids? Besides little girls looking like “veline” sometimes, I also see kids with cell phones at like 6 years old… maybe I’m a prude, but this doesn’t seem necessary… I can already see it, my kids are going to be the biggest nerds in all of Italy…

  9. Wanderlust Scarlett June 21, 2007 at 11:46 pm #

    Oh… my… gosh… WTF?!!!

    So glad you showed me this now… I won’t be shocked when I get there.

    Mind blower. I’m going on to read about the gelato now.

    Scarlett & Viaggiatore

  10. Jeff June 22, 2007 at 10:24 am #

    I’ve never seen those triangular bikes in person but naturally I want one. You are kinda standing up while riding it instead of sitting down. It’s supposed to be much more comfortable. There is also a “stepper bicycle” that’s very similar.

    The Milan, Inter, and Juve fans are like that here. Always trying to rub salt in the wounds. We don’t have a Serie A team in all of Puglia now! 😦

  11. nyc/caribbean ragazza June 22, 2007 at 4:45 pm #

    It’s so interesting to see all the political graffiti. In L.A. it’s just gang tags.

    I have no comment on the gun lamp.

  12. sandi @ the whistlestop cafe June 23, 2007 at 12:35 am #

    That is the rome I love too. I could just sit on a corner and soak it all in.. with my gelato!

  13. Rachele January 12, 2008 at 10:00 pm #

    this is great! This is the Roma that makes me smile. reminds me of the time my mother camr to visit me,we were walking down via del corso and crossong the street, we see a really old man, 70yrs. easy, fat, on a tiny kids scooter, half shirt that his belly hung out with a giant gold pictureframe around his neck waiting at the stop light. My mother asked if she could take a pic. I said sure, just dont piss him off doing it.hahahahah

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